By Paul Ibe
Abuja, Nigeria, 10 Jan 2019: Contrary to their claims, President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress are flagrantly violating the Constitution and the Electoral Act 2010 as amended by their unbridled deployment of state resources and apparatuses for the 2019 presidential campaign.
Recall that the National Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu had in December of last year warned incumbent office holders against using state resources or apparatuses for their campaigns, or deploying same against their opponents.
Prof Yakubu, who issued the warning at a lecture titled “Political corruption and other emerging issues for the 2019 elections” in Abuja, noted that the commission has the power to monitor campaign financing and sources of funds according to the Constitution and the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
However, in negation of the Constitution and the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, the Buhari administration and the APC has taken to the illegal deployment of state resources to its advantage for the election.
We wish to remind President Buhari and the APC that the use of state videos released by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture is illegal under the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
The media is awash with advertisements with the hashtag #PMBDIDIT and signed by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and referencing so-called achievements of the APC administration in the states of Abia, Kwara, Lagos, Ebonyi, Delta and Kano, among others. These are without doubt 2019 presidential campaign materials produced by the Ministry of Information and Culture using state resources and apparatuses to benefit President Buhari. (See attached videos).
This appalling conduct, which is clearly in violation of Section 100 of the Electoral Act, is even more shocking when it is recalled that the state resources being used to the illegal advantage of President Buhari are being drawn from agencies which for over three years prior to this election failed to perform their duties to the benefit of Nigerian citizens. The Ministry of Information and Culture must stop this illegality immediately.
We demand that INEC issues an immediate cease and desist order to both the Ministry of Information and Culture and to the broadcast channels running it.
We also insist that INEC register the media spend behind it as part of the APC’s total N1 billion campaign spend limit.
Fortunately, INEC is alert to this danger and itself warned the ruling party to refrain from such conduct. Now that the party has clearly flouted the law in negation of the electoral umpire’s warning, we urge that INEC sanctions them accordingly.